Michigan DNR Fishing Report

With warmer weather, pay close attention to deteriorating ice conditions.

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Weekly Fishing Report – March 5, 2020

fishing map

Southwest Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report Southeast Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report Northeast Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report Northwest Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report Upper Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report
With warmer weather this week, it will be important to pay close attention to deteriorating ice conditions. Anglers are reminded that ice shanties must be removed once the ice can no longer support them safely. It is anglers’ responsibility to remove their shanty before it falls through the ice.

Want to meet with fisheries managers and biologists, discuss local issues and management activities, and get answers to your questions? Join us for Conversations and Coffee this spring.

All anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a fishing license.

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Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie: A couple walleye have been caught. Try the Dumping Grounds near the Banana Dike while jigging minnows.

Huron River: Anglers were still picking up the occasional steelhead on spawn.

Detroit River: Perch fishing was decent, with some bigger ones being caught off the south end of Grosse Ile and in the canals around Gibraltar, as well as in the bays and marinas. The occasional walleye has been caught.

Lake St. ClairThe lake is full of broken ice. Ice conditions are extremely dangerous, and anglers should stay off any remaining ice. Most launches were still iced-in, but it will not take long for them to open up. The Harley Ensign and Brandenburg launches were open, and the docks are in at Harley Ensign. Be sure to keep an eye on wind direction and drifting ice. Shore and dock anglers were seeing an increase in panfish activity and were doing especially well on pumpkinseeds.

St. Clair RiverMost of the river is open, but there is some slush and ice flowing down from Lake Huron. A couple walleye were caught recently, but the action was still light.

Saginaw BayIt looks like the end of ice fishing is near. Ice cover was limited, with a lot of open water and floating ice. Extreme caution needs to be used, as the remaining ice was getting soft on top, and a strong southwest wind will take it out. From Pinconning to the State Park, a few anglers just offshore caught a couple perch or walleye in 3 to 7 feet. Fish usually can be found in a couple feet of water this time of year as they move toward the river mouths.

The Quanicassee River is now open, and some of the cuts around Fish Point are open or starting to open. Fishing was spotty on the east side. Off Vanderbilt Park, a few machines had gone through the ice. Sebewaing to Bay Port was slow. Mud Creek did produce some perch, but most were very small. At Caseville, fishing in the marina was slow. The Pigeon River is starting to open up.

Saginaw River: Still had some ice coming down near Saginaw, upstream and downstream of Zilwaukee and at the south end of Bay City. Walleye had been caught upstream of the Independence Bridge near the train bridge when jigging in 31 feet with blue and chartreuse jigs. Numbers varied in this area, from one single fish to a couple limits. Fish were caught downstream of Zilwaukee around the powerlines; however, anglers had to work hard and were sorting through the small ones. They were fishing right in the channel with a blue ice or emerald jig. Walleye were caught in Saginaw as well; however, this area had a lot of ice, which made fishing more difficult.

Tittabawassee River: Is open water the entire length. Boats are beginning to head out near Busch Tool Supply in Freeland, the Caldwell launch and the launch at Center Road. Walleye fishing was very slow, with only a few caught upstream of the Caldwell launch.

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Southwest Lower Peninsula

Ice quality will deteriorate quickly this week. Anglers will need to use extreme caution on any remaining ice. The warm weather may push steelhead upstream, especially in the St. Joseph and the Kalamazoo rivers. Water levels were pretty much normal but may increase as the snow melts.

New Buffalo: Pier anglers continue to target coho when using spawn on the bottom.

Galien River: Continues to produce a few coho near the mouth.

St. Joseph River: Water levels were up, but the clarity is good for this time of year. The fish ladders have been cleaned of all debris. The fish cam at the Berrien Springs ladder is up and running. Good numbers of steelhead were observed moving up the fish ladder at Berrien Springs, including a mix of fresh fish and those that have been in the river for a while. Fishing pressure at the dam was light. No steelhead or anglers were observed at the Niles or Buchanan fish ladders.

Grand River near Grand Rapids: The fish ladder at the 6th Street Dam has been cleaned out. A couple boats were seen below the dam and a few shore anglers on both sides between I-96 and the dam. Steelhead were caught on spawn or wobble glo’s up near the dam. Walleye were caught around the Fulton Street Bridge and up along the east wall between the dam and S-Curve bridge on U.S. 131 when using a white or chartreuse twister tail. The Rogue River continues to produce steelhead for those using a jig with a wax worm.

Grand River near Lansing: The Grand Ledge, Portland and Webber Dam fish ladders are now back open for the spring steelhead run, but no fish were observed. A few shore and boat anglers were seen below Webber Dam and downstream to the Lyons boat launch. Fishing was sporadic for pike and walleye. One walleye was caught on a twister tail grub near the North Lansing Dam. The catfish bite should improve as it warms up.

Muskegon Lake: Ice fishing here appears to be done for the season. Shoreline ice is questionable at best, so those looking for pike in the shallows will still need to use caution. There is open water in the middle of the lake, and windy conditions coupled with wave action only will take out more of the remaining ice.

Muskegon: Shoreline ice prevented surfcasting for steelhead. Ice flow could be found in the channel.

Muskegon River: Had good levels and clear water. Some holdover steelhead were caught. Try using streamers.

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Northeast Lower Peninsula

Burt Lake: Ice fishing continues. Most anglers were using snowmobiles or four-wheelers. Anglers are getting walleye and perch. Pike were hitting tip-ups with minnows. A good number of burbot also have been caught.

Mullett Lake: Also has good ice, and the bite did improve. A lot of shanties could be seen off Topinabee. Anglers have caught walleye and perch. Pike usually can be found on the south end near the Indian River.

Fletchers Pond: The panfish bite was starting to improve.

Higgins Lake: The ice is holding; however, a four-wheeler on the channel and lagoon at the South State Park did go through the ice. The smelt bite was good lake-wide in 40 to 60 feet. Lake trout still can be found on the bottom in 70 to 100 feet when using tip-ups with smelt and golden shiners or when jigging a variety including cast masters and tube jigs. The perch bite was good; however, anglers are sorting through a lot of small ones to get a few keepers.

Houghton Lake: Still has ice; however, the shoreline ice is breaking up fast, and there are areas with open water. Anglers are starting to remove their shanties before much more of the shoreline ice disappears. Those fishing found a few crappie and bluegill about 6 feet down in 10 feet of water. Pike are still being caught.

Tawas: Most of the ice had blown out, and while some of it refroze, anglers are being warned to STAY OFF THE ICE, as conditions are not safe. 

Au Gres: The ice blew out near the Pine River and Palmer Road. A couple anglers inside Eagle Bay Marina caught small perch and bluegills on minnows or wax worms. A few pike were taken inside Northport Marina.

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Northwest Lower Peninsula

Thumb Lake: Splake fishing picked up for those using blues on the bottom in 20 to 30 feet around the north basin and the island. Most were about 16 inches. Perch were caught off the beach access site with minnows and wax worms, but many were small.

Traverse City: Any ice in the area was spotty at best, and there has not been much in the way of open water fishing, as strong winds have kept smaller boats off the bigger waters. Steelhead runs in the area are slow.

Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Anglers continue to catch pike, walleye and panfish. The occasional bass has been caught and immediately released.

Manistee River: Had reports of some chrome steelhead taken at Tippy Dam. No big numbers yet; however, a few fish were starting to move.

Pere Marquette River: Steelhead fishing only will get better as we move closer to spring. Water temperatures were still a bit cold, running in the mid to upper 30s. Those fly fishing are hooking some fish.

Pentwater River: Sun and warmer temperatures should help improve the steelhead bite by the weekend.

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Upper Peninsula

Keweenaw Bay: Anglers were catching more fish. Those moving out to deeper water picked up lake trout, whitefish and herring when jigging, while those in shallow water caught coho, splake and brown trout. Some did well with tip-ups and jaw-jackers, but most fish were caught while jigging. Those targeting burbot at night picked up a few, but most were on the small side. Smelt fishing was slower.

Little Bay De Noc: Travel on the ice was a bit easier. Watch for changing conditions with warmer temperatures this week. Walleye anglers reported spotty catch rates even though good numbers of fish were marked. The better catches came from the head of the bay with tip-ups in 14 to 24 feet, and the Escanaba River with tip-ups or jigging raps in 30 feet. A few were caught on the Ford River. Perch anglers reported fewer catches, so many were moving to deeper water. Fish were found near Kipling with minnows or wigglers in 28 to 30 feet. A warming trend this week could produce some good walleye action.

Munising: Ice conditions improved slightly; however, the east end of Sand Point and the West Channel were not safe due to strong currents and open water in the area. The nearshore ice at Sand Point was mainly pack ice. Anglers could be found off the Anna River access points. In general, fishing was very slow for coho, splake, lake trout and lake whitefish. As more anglers were targeting burbot at night, some reported good catches. A few locals who fish several times a week did well for whitefish, but put in a good six hours or more on the ice.

Cedarville and Hessel: Catch rates picked up around the Les Cheneaux Islands, with anglers catching perch and pike in Government Bay, the Cedarville Channel and Duck Bay. Perch ranging from 7-13 inches were caught in Musky Bay when jigging minnows and wax worms in 12 to 17 feet. Some pike up to 27 inches also were taken with blues on tip-ups. Perch were caught in Hessel Bay, especially on the east side. Anglers were seeing more splake on the west side of the bay. While the ice was holding, anglers need to be aware of strong currents in these areas.

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Fishing Tip: Understanding fish posture to help with ice fishing success

Fish often maintain one of two postures – one where they are ready to strike (fins up and backs arched) or one where they are focused on traveling (fins tucked in). Understanding these postures can aid in your fishing success, particularly through the ice.

The first step when using fish posture to impact your ice fishing techniques is to have appropriate equipment, such as sonar. This tool allows you to visualize the posture and react effectively.

Secondly, pay attention to time periods of aggressive posture. Most likely you will see it exhibited around sunrise and sunset – plan your trips accordingly.

Michigan offers some of the best fishing throughout the year. Plan your next outing by visiting Michigan.gov/Fishing.

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This report is intended to give you an idea of what is going on around the state. Updates come from Fisheries staff and conservation officers. With more than 11,000 inland lakes, the Great Lakes and thousands of miles of rivers and streams, not all locations can be listed. However, it is safe to say if a species is being caught in some waters in the area, they are likely being caught in all waters in that section of the state that have that species.

Activities Around Orion Township

Activities Around Orion Township

Don’t miss the Mardi Gras Lunch!
Wednesday, February 26
12-1:30 pm | $10R/$12NR
“Laissez les bons temps rouler!” Enjoy an authentic New Orleans lunch, music from the North Oakland Dixieland Band, and lots of fun!
Costumes are welcome.
Membership and Registration Required
Thank you to our Sponsors:
Wellbridge of Clarkston
Independence Village
NODB is very excited to play for Orion Center members, don’t forget to register today!
(please note February’s Java Joes is on a Monday, not Tuesday)
9:30-10:30 am
Group Discussion Leader: John Reilly
State Representative for the 46th District
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Explore Pure Michigan Winter Fun

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January 27, 2020

"My Michigan" With Snowboarder Nick Baumgartner

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Elite snowboarder Nick Baumgartner competes all over the world, but nothing beats the mountains in his native Michigan. Nick has carved up virtually every big mountain in the American West and has trained and competed in 20 different countries from Europe to South America. But when he wants to experience true beauty, he doesn’t need to leave his home state on Michigan. Check out his story.

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Savor the Craft During Beer Month GR

Savor the Craft During Beer Month GR

Grand Rapids was just named America’s top beercation destination by Travel+Leisure–and Beer Month GR is a perfect time to experience the city’s awesome craft beer scene. Visit from February 15-March 15 to enjoy delectable beer-and-food specials at local eateries, attend the 15th Annual Winter Beer Festival, join in the fun of tap takeovers, and much more.

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Ski the Mitten

Ski the Mitten

Thanks to abundant snow (100-plus inches annually) and snow-making at most resorts, Michigan ski areas are open for business from early December to late March. With about 1,000 runs in more than 48 destinations, the state ranks second in the U.S. for the number of ski resorts, with many catering to beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. Pick your resort, pack-up the kids and get ready for exhilarating winter fun and adventure on the slopes.

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Time to Make Summer Vacation Plans

Time to Make Summer RV Vacation Plans

Although the ground is covered with snow and the temperature is below freezing-avid campers know it’s time to start planning for warm weather getaways. If you’re looking for a place to vacation this summer, and a new way to get there, head to the 54th Annual Detroit RV & Camping Show (February 5-9) to check out the newest RVs, campers, trailers, fifth wheelers, educational seminars—and to hear great testimonials from the hosts of Under the Radar Michigan.

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Michigan Legacy Art Park Showcases Art, Culture, Nature and History

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From fishing to horseback riding and from trail hiking to canoeing-and even tailgating-if your family enjoys the active lifestyle, there is a campground and RV park just waiting for you to take advantage of their many amenities. Whether you want complete serenity or lots of activities during your camping trip, there are plenty of MARVAC member Pure Michigan campgrounds that offer something for everyone.

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Upcoming Events

Winter Magic Snowshoe & Trails Tour
Now thru February 15, 2020

Wilderness Sleigh Ride Dinner
Now thru March 7, 2020

Birmingham Restaurant Week
January 27 – February 7, 2020

43rd Ann Arbor Folk Festival
January 31-February 1, 2020
Ann Arbor

Ice Breaker Festival 2020
January 31 – February 2, 2020
South Haven

16th Annual Magical Ice Fest
January 31 – February 2, 2020
Saint Joseph

February 1, 2020

Charlevoix Groundhog Shadowfest
February 1, 2020

52nd Annual I-500 Snowmobile Race
February 1, 2020
Sault Sainte Marie

15th Annual Everett Kircher Cup
February 2, 2020
Boyne Falls

Michigan Winter Try-Athlon
February 2, 2020
North Muskegon

Archery: Try-It
February 2, 2020

Art Park Snowshoe Tour and Iron Fish Whiskey Tasting
February 2, 2020

Michigan Tech Winter Carnival
February 5-8, 2020

Quicken Loans Winter Blast Weekend
February 7-9, 2020

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Activities Around Orion Township

January Update for Orion Parks

Orion Township Parks & Recreation Monthly Newsletter
Here is what is coming up in the next few months in Orion Township!
Register for Parks & Recreation Programs at
or call 248.391.0304 x3500
How to Train Your Dragon Workshop
Saturday Jan 25th 9:30am at Friendship Park. Call 248.391.0304 x3500 or visit www.orionparks.com to register.
Upcoming Youth Activities
Snapology How to Train Your Dragon Workshop: Jan 25
Kid’s Art by Design: Jan 27-Feb 10
Snapology Planes, Train & Automobiles Jr.: Jan 27-Feb 10
Home Alone Training: Feb 3
Babysitter Training: Feb 10
Little Dancers Paint!: Feb 20-Mar 12
Bunny Bop: Mar 28
Upcoming Adult Programs
The Stairs to Success- Improving College Study: Jan 13-Mar 9
FREE Yoga Classes: Jan 9 & 13
Cardio Drumming: Jan 16-Mar 19
FREE Tone & Stretch: Jan 9
MELT Method Workshop:
Jan 15, Feb 19, & Mar 25
MELT Method Class: Jan 22-Feb 12
Community Indoor Garage Sale: Mar 6
Antique, Toy & Comic Expo: Mar 7
FREE Trail Yoga Classes
Try it before you buy it! Free trail classes held on Monday Jan 9th and Thursday Jan 13th. Call 248.391.0304 x3500 or visit www.orionparks.com to sign up.
Drop-In Rates for Zumba, Yoga, Tone & Stretch and Cardio Drumming now available!
Call 248.391.0304 x3500 for more information.
Upcoming 50+ Special Events
Greektown Casino Trip: Jan 16
(deadline Jan 9)
Euchre Tournament: Feb 6
National Pizza & Bagel Day: Feb 7
Ford Piquette Avenue Plant: Feb 19
Valentines Day Tea Luncheon: Feb 13
Make a Mardi Gras Mask: Feb 20
Mardi Gras Luncheon: Feb 26
Mardi Gras Events!
Make a Mardi Gras mask on Feb 20th to take to the Mardi Gras Luncheon on Feb 26th! Call 248.391.0304 x3500 or visit www.orionparks.com for more information.
Register for Parks & Recreation Programs at
or call 248.391.0304 x3500
Orion Township Parks & Recreation | 248.391.0304 x3500 | parksrec@oriontownship.org www.orionparks.com
Charter Township of Orion | 1335 Joslyn RoadLake Orion, MI 48360
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January hunting and trapping opportunities

Fur harvesting

2019 fur harvesterHunting:

  • Raccoon hunting is open statewide through Jan. 31.
  • Bobcat hunting begins Jan. 1. See pages 28-29 of the Fur Harvester Digest for open areas and bag limits.
  • Fox (gray and red) hunting opportunities are available statewide through March 1.
  • Coyote hunting is open year-round, statewide.


Opportunities for trapping badger, beaver, bobcat, coyote, fox, muskrats, mink, otter and raccoon are available through the winter.

See the 2019 Fur Harvester Digest for season dates, unit boundaries, bag limits and other regulations.

Small game hunting

Your 2019 base license is valid through March 31, 2020, so there is still time to get out for some small game hunting.

Cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare and squirrel (fox and gray) hunting are open statewide through March 31.

See the 2019 Hunting Digest for small game season dates and bag limits.

Deer hunting

Archery season is extended through Jan. 31 for Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties. All rules and regulations for the archery season apply. Hunters should check on local ordinances in the communities they are interested in hunting to make sure hunting is allowed or to see whether only specific areas are open for the extended season. State game and wildlife areas in all three counties are open to hunting during this extended season.

Visit Michigan.gov/Deer or see the 2019 Hunting Digest for all deer hunting details.

Waterfowl hunting

There’s still time to bag a champion goose in the South Zone and Allegan County Goose Management Unit (GMU).

South Zone:

  • Dark and light goose hunting is open Jan. 25 – Feb. 10.

Allegan County Goose Management Unit:

  • Dark and light goose hunting is open through Jan. 30. (The Fennville Farm Unit of the Allegan State Game Area is closed to goose hunting on Mondays and Wednesdays during the GMU season).

Waterfowl hunting dates, bag limits and regulations are available at Michigan.gov/Waterfowl.

Need a place to hunt?


Check out our Grouse Enhanced Management Sites for premier bird hunting locations.

HAP lands ►

Find a complete list of private lands available to hunt through the Hunting Access Program.


Find places to hunt using Mi-HUNT – a mapping tool that shows lands open to public hunting.